Songtsen Gampo(617-650) is the 33rd btsan-po (leader) of Tibetan Empire, and the first Ruler of Tibetan Empire. During his period, from 629 to 650, he pacified civil strife in Tubo, expended the territory of Tibetan Empire, and made Tibetan Empire a strong country on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. He also established political, military, economical and legal systems, introduced Buddhism from Tang Dynasty and Indian and introduced science and technology as well as the calendar from Tang Dynasty. Songtsen Gampo, Bhrikuti and Wencheng Princess have still been worshiping by Tibetans today.
Early Life of Songtsen Gampo
In 617, Songtsen Gampo was born in Qiangbamingjiulin Palace. His father is the 32nd btsan-po of Tubo. Songtsen Gampo was his regnal name added by later generations. When he was 3 years old, his father exterminated Shupi Tribe, unified Tibet Plateau, and became the King of each small states of Tubo. In this kind of family, Songtsen Gampo, the only boy, received good family education and strict training. He became a man of both literary and military capacity.
In 629, when Songtsen Gampo was 13 years old, the unified Tibetan Empire got heavy blows. His father, the King of Tibetan Empire was poisoned, and the queen and officials turned renegade. Gongbu, Dabo, Niangbo and other places were occupied by rebels. The Yangtong Tribe at west border invaded, and Supi nobles wanted to recover their country at south river bank of the Yarlung Zangbo River. Songtsen Gampo inherited his father’s position and became the 33rd btsan-po of Tubo. Relying on emerging powers, recruited ten thousands of people and formed an elite team. After 3 years wars, he put down the internal rebellion, stabilized the situation and unified Tibetan Empire again.
Moved the Capital to Lhasa
In 632, Songtsen Gampo leaded his army across the Yarlung Zangbo River, and moved the Capital from Zedang to Luoxie (Lhasa). He got rid of the fetter of Tubo nobles, and the political and military center became one, which was convenient for facilitating the army, developing autocratic monarchy and consolidating the slavery system. In addition the geographical location and natural conditions is also much better in Lhasa than Zedang.
Unified Tibet Plateau
After moving capital to Lhasa, Songtsen Gampo made a series strategic concept to conquer neighbouring Qiang Tribes. Firstly, he conquered Supi and Yangtong, eliminate the threat from the west and north border.
Songtsen Gampo sent ambassador to Nepal to ask for connection through marriage and married Bhrikuti. He also connected with Tang Dynasty and married Wencheng Princess.
In 641, when Songtsen Gampo was 25 years old, he married Wencheng Princess who was 16 years old. Tubo people warmly welcomed Wencheng Princess.
Death of Songtsen Gampo
In 650, Songtsen Gampo died. His grand funeral was held the next year.
Contribution to the development of Tibet:
1. Unified Tibet to be the Tibetan Empire and ended the war between states in Tibet.
2. Moved the capital to Lhasa, promoted the development of Lhasa City
3. Established political, military, economical and legal systems,
4. Introduced Buddhism from Tang Dynasty and Indian
5. Introduced science and technology as well as the calendar from Tang Dynasty.
6. Sent officials to learn characters in Indian and created Tibetan characters.